How to Play Half Court Pickleball or Skinny Singles?

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If you have become somewhat of a pickleball pro and are looking to explore a variation of this sport, you could look at half court pickleball or as one calls it, skinny singles in pickleball. Below is a detailed explanation about half court pickleball or skinny singles.

What is Half Court Pickleball?

As the name suggests, Half Court Pickleball is played on a half size court. It is great for people wanting to train and get fit, for people who want to practice playing the game, and for brand new players who are learning pickleball.

The set-up is quick and the set is easy to assemble. You can take a half size pickleball court anywhere you choose, as long as you have 10 feet in width.

A half course pickleball set, also known as a starter set, includes a 10 foot long x 3 foot high net, 2 posts for the net, 2 pickleball paddles and a few pickleballs.

You can transport this set to a court or surface and set up. Of course you can use a pickleball court that is already set up, and just use half the court.

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Is Half Court Pickleball the same as Skinny Singles?

That’s correct; because Skinny Singles Pickleball is played on half the usual pickleball court, it is also called Half Court Pickleball.

So how do you play the game, which we are going to call Skinny Singles? Let’s take a look.

How to Play Skinny Singles Pickleball?

Skinny singles, or half court pickleball, is more of a drill than a game. You play on a small court, or on half a court if that is what you have set up.

All the shots are exactly the same as a proper game of pickleball, but you are only using half the court. You play as if you were playing doubles, so the same rules apply, which means you can work on your doubles shots and your doubles strategy.

You play skinny singles with two players.

You are playing singles, just two players, but you are using the double’s rules and strategies. With skinny singles, you are really working hard, doing what two players would be doing, so you are running around, hitting every single ball that comes back to you (usually you and your partner would be returning the balls) and so you are getting a lot of practice.

The thing is, you can only hit the pickleball across the court and into the other player’s half of the court. This is the same half that the ball was served from. If you hit into the wrong section of the court, and do not hit cross court, the point is considered a fault.


It’s a lot easier to get the hang of it when you actually play. Let’s give yo man example:

  • Server One begins. The score is zero.
  • The server hits cross court, aiming to the even side of the court where his opponent is.
  • The return of serve must be hit across the court.
  • The returns thereafter, whether they are forehands, backhands, volleys or drops must all be cross court.
  • Players alternate from even side to even side, and then odd side to odd side.
  • When the score is odd, the game must be played to that side of the court.
  • When the score is even, the game must be played to that side of the court.

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Each Player Has Ten Feet To Cover

This is how skinny singles is the ‘same’ as doubles.

The width of the court, instead of being 20 feet, is ten feet. Each player, and remember there are only two, has to use the same shots that would be used in doubles.

It’s hard to hit a drive by forehand or double in a ten foot court, but volleys and drop shots will be used often. The player has to use these strategies in doubles, and so is getting great practice in singles. All the shots are similar to those played in doubles.

So what exactly is the point of Skinny Singles?

  • It’s loads of fun.
  • You only need two players.
  • You get a lot of practice.
  • You practice all your double shots, but in a singles game.
  • You only need a small space – ten feet.
  • It’s a great drill.

Again, Why is Half Court Pickleball The Same As Skinny Singles?

They are the same, both being drills. You need a flat surface if you don’t have a pickleball court, and you can use the Half Pickleball set.

Everything remains the same, except you are only playing on a ten foot wide court. The net is the same height. If you buy a half pickleball set, it comes with a half net. This net is ten foot wide, with two posts on either side.

Stan Boone

I am the editor of Racket Sports World. I love my tennis, pickleball and most of the other racket sports played around the world and started this blog as my way to help other racquet sports fans even as I learn, explore and improve by connecting with them. Tweet at

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